Glossary Terms

Net Metering and Net Billing

The concept of net metering programs is to allow utility customers to generate their own electricity from renewable resources, such as small wind turbines and solar electric systems. The customers send excess electricity back to the utility when their wind system, for example, produces more power than they need. Customers can then get power from the utility when their wind system doesn’t produce enough power. In effect, net metering allows the interconnected customer to use the electrical grid as a storage battery.

Multiplier Effect

The term “multiplier effect” as it pertains to the local economy and wind project development describes how increased spending in one part of a economy starts a chain reaction that results in an overall increase in economic activity. When a consumer spends money to buy goods or services at a local business, the local business will, in turn, spend some of this money locally on additional goods and services, and the local providers of these goods and services will likewise spend some of this money locally.

Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS)

Businesses can recover investments in certain property through depreciation deductions. The MACRS establishes a set of class lives for various types of property, ranging from three to 50 years, over which the property may be depreciated. For solar, wind, and geothermal property placed in service after 1986, the current MACRS property class is five years. With the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, fuel cells, microturbines, and solar hybrid lighting technologies are now classified as 5-year property as well.

Minnesota Flip

The Minnesota Flip is a business model designed to help local wind project owners with minimal tax appetite pair up with a larger entity that has a more substantial tax burden. Because the tax credits available to project owners are proportional to their level of ownership in the project, the tax motivated entity is the majority owner in the first ten years of production and pays a “management fee” to the local owner in lieu of production payments.

Merchant

Refers to wind projects where a private contractor builds a new facility without a power purchase agreement and guaranteed revenue stream. In a deregulated power market a merchant wind projects sell their electricity at spot market prices.

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